Team of the Week, Week 3

| September 25, 2012

Is anybody else sick of everything being about the officiating?

Can’t we just get back to appreciating the players? Forget about the controversial calls for a second or two and just reminisce over some of the best performances from Week 3 in the NFL.

OFFENSE 

Quarterback: Tom Brady, NE (+6.9)

Despite a losing effort, the Patriots can at least be pleased that after a so-so outing in Week 2, Tom Brady looked back to his best. He wasn’t helped by five drops, but with his offensive line given him plenty of time in the pocket, he picked apart the Ravens’ secondary with some precise throws. NFL you have been warned.

Running Back: Jamaal Charles, KC (+2.9)

Even if the bulk of his yards came on a couple of plays, it was a sight to see as Charles rushed for 233 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry… after contact.

Fullback: Nate Eachus, KC (+3.1)

Will we look back on 2012 as the year of the rookie fullback? Probably not, but Chiefs fans saw their team load the backfield this week as their undrafted free agent had a fine day.

Tight End: Heath Miller, PIT (+2.8)

A fine day all around for Miller who scored positively with his run blocking while also picking up two touchdowns on the 10 balls thrown his way.

Wide Receivers: A.J. Green, CIN (+4.8) and Calvin Johnson, DET (+4.2)

Two players who just keep doing what they’re doing. Green picked up 183 yards as he and Andy Dalton really found their stride. Over in Tennessee, Calvin Johnson keeps making plays even when the Titans’ defensive scheme was set up to prevent him beating them down the field. 164 yards later you realize you just can’t stop Megatron sometimes.

Tackles: Ryan Clady, DEN (+5.8) and Tyson Clabo, ATL (+5.0)

When Ryan Clady’s agent sit down and want to start talking dollars with the Broncos, it wouldn’t hurt to put a copy of this game on. The former first-rounder dominated Connor Barwin, pitching a perfect game in pass protection. Over on the right side, Clabo continues to impress as one of the league’s most reliable tackles. He allowed a hurry, but was an integral part of the Falcons’ rushing attack getting back on track.

Guards: Rob Sims, DET (+4.5) Jon Asamoah, KC (+5.5)

When Detroit brought Sims in from Seattle that was the kind of display they would have hoped for. Giving no ground in pass protection and doing a good job getting to the second level, this was Sims at his best. On the right side, Asamoah becomes the third part of a Chiefs rushing attack to make the list, even though he gave up a sack. That’s how good his run blocking was.

Center: Max Unger, SEA (+3.9)

It wasn’t exactly the most explosive offensive scheme of the week and it has gone completely unnoticed after that decision, but kudos to Unger to one of the better run blocking displays we’ve seen from a center this year.

DEFENSE

Defensive Front 4-3

Defensive Ends: Michael Johnson, CIN (+7.2) and Cameron Wake, MIA (+9.5)

Both men did exceptionally well to keep four-sack Chris Clemons out of the lineup, but Johnson himself had a four-sack day and added an extra four hits as he became best buddies with RG3. Meanwhile, the NFL’s nearly man, Cameron Wake, continued to just keep on picking up pressure and even added five stops in the run game.

Defensive Tackle: Gerald McCoy, TB (+5.0) and Desmond Bryant, OAK (+4.4)

The Bucs may be short on numbers and talent on the defensive line, but if Gerald McCoy can stay healthy they’re in for a treat this year. His two-sack, one-hit and two-hurry day will start the comparisons to Ndamukong Suh again. The versatile Bryant wasn’t about to let the Steelers’ offensive line move him about; the Harvard grad continues to impress.

Linebackers: Philip Wheeler, OAK (+7.5), Karlos Dansby, MIA (+5.4) and Nick Barnett, BUF (+3.5)

We haven’t always raved about Wheeler’s work in coverage, but when you can break up a pass and force two fumbles? Well, you’re heading for this team. The fine start to the season by Nick Barnett continued with his third game with a grade of at least +3.4. He’s on form. The impressive Dansby made five tackles for a short gain (including plays nullified by penalties), another for no gain and picked up as a pass defense. All in a day’s work.

Defensive Front 3-4

Defensive Line: Muhammad Wilkerson, NYJ (+5.8), Ryan Pickett, GB (+2.8) and J.J. Watt, HST (+5.5)

The Packers are using Pickett on the nose more and more, and he’s rewarding them with play like this. You won’t often see him picking up six tackles and three stops, but he was a force despite the good play of Max Unger. He’s got Wilkerson and Watt either side of him, with Wilkerson’s work in the run game being out of this world as he picked up eight defensive stops. Watt, as seems to be the case on a constant basis, just keeps wreaking havoc and he himself picked up four stops to go with three sacks.

Outside Linebackers: Justin Houston, KC (+5.1) and Ryan Kerrigan, WAS (+4.3)

Two sophomore players enjoying themselves as their teams ask more of them. Houston’s progression from the midway point last year continued with a three-sack (seven total pressures) display. Meanwhile, Kerrigan is picking up the slack with Brian Orakpo down and added another five quarterback disruptions to his growing tally, and three defensive stops in the run game.

Inside Linebackers: Lawrence Timmons, PIT (+4.0) and Sean Lee, DAL (+2.5)

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Lawrence Timmons who looked a little lost in the shuffle between positions last year. But he turned up on Sunday with one of his better displays, excelling in run defense. The Cowboys’ defensive leader walked away with a big interception, and while he maybe didn’t have the impact he normally does, that was enough to do it in a quiet week for inside linebackers.

Cornerbacks: Alterraun Verner, TEN (+5.3) and Tim Jennings, CHI (+3.7)

Verner nearly won the game twice for the Titans with his superb forced fumble-come-touchdown, and then interception that came back on a late hit of the QB. Even outside of that, he only allowed 6.3 yards per catch thrown his way. Jennings had his third fine outing in a row, giving up just eight yards on nine balls thrown at him (he defensed two and intercepted another).

Safeties: Thomas Decoud, ATL (+4.2) and Quintin Mikell, SL (+3.8)

It feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Mikell play this well. He was busy and about the ball in a way that was reminiscent of his Eagles days. The two interceptions and pass deflection speak for itself as the brilliant start to the season of Decoud continued.

Special Teams

6-of-6 for Ryan Succop of the Chiefs … the Seahawks’ Jon Ryan dropped four punts inside the 20 … that was the kind of special teams performance that should help Niners fans forget about Kyle Williams’ playoff fumbling (well as much as they can anyway) … Ashlee Palmer and Nick Bellore led the way with four special teams tackles.

  • river

    Being a Green Bay fan, this week leaves me sick. The players didn’t decide who won the Seattle Green Bay game. Seattle’s defence were outstanding and much credit to them, I hope to meet them again in the playoffs.

    • dannydud

      Players didn’t decide the game? How about 8 sacks given up? How about a dropped td pass by Donald Driver (or a poor throw to an open guy)? How about a missed 2 point conversion? How about a INT that could have buried the Seahawks by a legit roughing the passer penalty? Sure the call was bad, but there were multiple instances that the Packer PLAYERS cost them.

      • river

        If the refs make the correct decision at the end of the game, Green Bay win. Of course Green Bay make a lot of errors, but they still scored more legitimate points than Seattle.

        • BeantownBoomer

          what about the PI on their scoring drive? It had to be one of the worst calls of the weekend. GB shouldn’t have even been up at that point

          • Unbiased

            Seahawks had three instances where their drive should’ve ended or been severely altered. First the interception that was nullified by the questionable roughing the passer. That was a 50/50 call. I don’t like it but I understand it. Then the Seahawks get two holding calls and it’s 1st and 30, so what do they do? Launch one to Sidney Rice down the sideline who clobbers James Shields from behind keeping him from any shot of an INT and it goes the other way! Defensive PI and the Seahawks are now right back in it. And then of course there was the last play of the game where Golden Tate shoved Shields and then gets an arm around Jennings and gets credited with a TD. Between that play and saying “i don’t know what you’re talking about” to the reporter when asked about the offensive PI call, and a week earlier he almost knocked Sean Lee’s head off with a helmet to helmet blindside block for no reason, and sat their celebrating for 20 seconds like he won an Olympic gold medal. Man I don’t like that guy. I’m a Baltimore fan so I could care less about these teams, just calling it how I saw it.

      • Blake Thomas

        A legit roughing? You can’t be serious. You just can’t be.

    • dannydud

      I forgot this one. How about having the ball up by 5 under the 2 minute warning when the Seahawks had 3 timeouts left? One first down by the ‘vaunted’ Green Bay offense possibly ends the game, two first downs almost assuredly ends it.

  • Jonny Hansen

    I thought Michael Bennett would make 1 of the 2 DE spots on this roster. Did not know Cameron Wake and Michael Johnson were so good this week.

  • NotNeutral

    So, the Defense that held Vick and his Eagles to – let’s see – 0 TDs has no player in the team of the week? And you still pretend not to have a bias against the Cardinals.

    • JJ

      This is about individual performances, not team performances.

    • Bubs Solo

      Sam Acho 3.8 and Kerry Rhodes 3.1 were the closest Cards to make the list.